Child Helpline: A drop in children’s psychological problems since 2019
There has been a decrease in the rate of problems related to mental and social health and peer relationships among Saudi children during the period between 2019 and 2022, according to the Child Helpline sources.
The Child Helpline division of the National Family Safety Program (NFSP) attributed this mainly to the division’s efforts to provide consultations and proper awareness to children and their mentors, in addition to immediate response to complaints and communications apart from the provision of consultation in complete confidentiality.
Speaking to Okaz/Saudi Gazette, the sources stated that during the year 2022, the Child Helpline had received 31,770 calls, of which 12,541 or 39 percent, were serious calls. The Riyadh region recorded the highest number of incoming calls, and it was followed by the Makkah region and then the Eastern Province.
The vast majority of callers were citizens, representing 95 percent. The Helpline provides free consultation services and support for children subjected to abuse and neglect and its 116 111 toll free number provides an easy access and confidential outreach service for children around the Kingdom.
The Helpline receives calls related to all types of childhood and adolescence problems from all over the Kingdom. It stated that 92 percent of the calls were associated with the most common categories of problems such as abuse and violence, family relations, mental and social health, legal, school, and peer relations. These include 29 percent of abuse and violence; family relations 17 percent; psychological and social health18 percent; legal 19 percent; school 9 percent; and peer relationships five percent.
It is noteworthy that the Child Helpline is a division of Saudi Arabia’s National Family Safety Program (NFSP). The nature of the referral and the urgency of intervention and treatment are determined by the nature of the problem and its seriousness, as the Helpline refers to all problems immediately and urgently on the same day.
The Child Helpline has gained increasing interest from all segments of society, because of its effective role in serving children and childhood, and activating many campaigns in cooperation with the authorities, foremost of which is the ministry of education.
The Child Helpline is also keen to educate male and female students in all the public and private schools about the services it provides, as it is a body that provides them with protection and support, in addition to educating parents about the existence of a free Helpline, which supports and serves children under the age of 18 that responds to their calls, listens and provides immediate advice for them.
Ever since its inception, the Helpline has made all possible efforts to provide its services by extending assistance and support services for children under the age of 18 or their caregivers through toll free consultation service by a specialized team who listens to child problems received over the line 116111 from all over the Kingdom.